Venbee Interview: “It’s been mental, but I'm honestly just having the best time”

With her debut Mixtape released today and her biggest-ever tour on the horizon, we caught up with Venbee to chat about them and TikTok, authenticity, and the emotional core of Liquid Drum and Bass. Check it out below!

Thomas Hirst

Last updated: 20th Oct 2023

The past couple of years for Kent-based drum and bass artist Erin Doyle, better known as Venbee. From blowing up on Tiktok with her early single ‘Low Down’ which she made with Dan Fable, to the dizzying heights of her second single 'Messy in Heaven' she made with Goddard, the vocalist has proven to have a penchant for earnest and relatable songwriting with a liquid Drum and Bass beat.

Now, following a whirlwind Festival season, where she played the likes of Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds, SXSW, The Great Escape, and Radio 1's Big Weekend to name a few; Venbee is on the brink of releasing her debut mixtape, Zero Experience, as well as heading out on the biggest tour of her career. 

With all this on the horizon, we caught up with Erin to chat all things mixtape and tour, the emotional core of Lqiuid Drum and Bass, and the importance of Tiktok for the modern-day artist. Scroll down and check out what she had to say below!

 

 

So, to say it’s been a mental year for you would be a bit of an understatement, no?

“It’s been wicked mate, to be honest, I haven't really had much time to process it. It's been a bit wild, but I'm just very grateful and very, very excited for next year now!”

 

Your festival season looked unreal, from Glastonbury to SXSW, The Great Escape, and Radio 1’s Big Weekend, you’ve been here there and everywhere, what has that been like?

“Festival season was nuts.

“I didn't expect to have such a massive run this year, which was crazy. But I don't think I’ve really processed it either. I'm still like, oh, that's mad, I played at Glastonbury, that's mad. You know what I mean? 

“I really need to take a second and actually realise like, oh, s**t, I played Glastonbury, or I played Reading, and these are huge moments in my career. 

“So, it’s been a bit mental for me, but I'm honestly just having the best time.”

 

Has there been a moment within that that stuck out for you? where you kind of just had to kind of step back and were like, whoa?

“When we were at Reading, and there were like 20, 000 people in the tent singing my song back to me was crazy. I've never experienced that in my life.

“It almost made me cry, that sort of thing, yeah it was crazy man.”

 

 

Well, you’re not done yet, are you? With your debut mixtape, Zero Experience, coming out later this month, and your biggest UK tour to date to date on the horizon. I’d just like to start with the Mixtape, what can you tell us about it?

“So the mixtape is essentially my life story in and like the situations that I've been in, and it's called Zero Experience. 

“I've had this thing with ‘Zero Experience’ for a very long time in the way of like, I have no idea, this is the honest truth, I have no idea what I'm doing. Absolutely none. And I don't think anyone else does in this world.

“It's like a misconception in society that everyone seems to have their head screwed on straight and knows what they're doing. None of us do, and I wanted to call my mixtape Zero Experience to make people a bit more comfortable with the fact that it's all right to not have a clue what you're doing.

“Because I certainly don't.”

 

It’s such a relatable thought, I definitely experienced it when I first came out of Uni, and you get into the world of work or the ‘professional world’ and feel like an outsider, but once you settle in, you realise that everyone is the same, as you say!

“Everyone's the exact same! No one knows what they're doing, and it goes with everything in life, people get really in their heads about it.”

 

Yeah, 100%. I feel like in your genre that resonates especially too, because liquid drum and bass is such a cathartic and emotional genre, and a release for a lot of people when they're in that crowd. Would you agree?

“Yeah definitely, I think liquid drum and bass and drum and bass in general is a lot more emotional than people think. Some of the topics that people speak about, and write lyrics to are extremely deep. 

“So for me, having someone dance, but also feel sad to my music is like, slay. 

“It's a big slay for me, 'cause that's how I feel when I make it.”

 

I think especially with the lyrics that you write too, they are very personal, and I feel that helps with these things we’re talking about. Because you might make music for a rave, but if people can connect with you through it at the same time, that's something special, isn't it?

“It is really special, and I think that’s the hope that every artist has, to try and find one person who feels the same as they do, or one person who can relate to their music, I think every artist wants that.

“So, if I can do that with even just a couple of people, I've done my job right, you know?”

 

Now it’s a mix of tracks both old and new, and you’ve said it’s like your life story, and with it having all your previous tracks on it, with some new ones too, it really does feel like a catalogue of you and your career, and how you’ve changed over that period of time. Was that the idea with it?

“Yeah, so this mixtape has been a year and a half in the making, and there are songs on there from back then, but also like, one of the songs that is on there, I didn't write until very, very recently.

“So yeah, you are correct, it’s like a mixture of where I was then and then also where I'm at now. But, within that, there's also a lot of things like my hometown, the people that I grew up with, my own relationships, and stuff like that, like, have played a massive part in the inspiration for it.

“So yeah, it's kind of like capturing a space in time for me through music.”

 

Are there any of the new tracks you’re particularly excited for the world to get a hold of?

“I'm really excited for everyone to hear POV. I really like that song. It's a grower, for sure. It's about being in those situations where someone else can't see your point of view. Which is something I feel is very relatable, happens all the time, and can be a really difficult thing to deal with. So yeah, that’s the concept, I’m just hoping that people relate to it haha.”

 

Have you had the chance to play the new tracks live yet?

“So of the new songs that are going on my mixtape, I’ve played Rampage live and I've done that all festival season, and it’s been going down really well.

“But now, on this upcoming tour, all the mixtape tracks will be going in the set. So it's going to be a bit of a different vibe as I've not played half of the songs live before. Which, to be honest, is a bit nerve-wracking, but also very exciting.”

 

Continuing on playing live, let's move on to your upcoming tour, it’s the biggest of your career so far, are you ready to go? Are there any dates in particular you're really looking forward to?

“I’m really looking forward to the London show. I’m excited about Bristol too, and all the dates really, but that London show I’m especially excited for.”

 

Image: Hybrid Minds on Facebook

Now, you might have music on the horizon, but at the end of August, you released ‘If Love Could Have Saved You’ with liquid DNB icons Hybrid Minds, a track you wrote with Charlotte Haining, it’s a really cathartic track, with quite a sensitive subject matter, what was the experience of making that like?

“That, so that all was, that was a very delicate... experience. Because I wrote it with Charlotte Haining and this song is a tribute to her late stepbrother. So, you know, we wanted to, deal with this as delicately as we could. 

“Because, you know, Charlotte's sharing her story with us, and God bless her for f**king being so open and honest and, and caring about the story, and that was something that I resonated with and, and Hybrid Minds have worked with us both for, for a while. So it felt right for them to take the track and, and produce it. 

“They dealt with it with a lot of compassion and were very delicate and caring about the record which just meant the world to me and Charlotte, for sure.”

Read our interview with Matt from Hybrid Minds on the release of "If Love Could Have Saved You" - HERE

 

 

 

For sure, the music video too is just really emotional and it's been wonderfully handled by everyone involved as you say. To be able to tell this really personal story, whilst at the same time it being a really great song and a great tribute to him, is really special. 

“Thank you. We really wanted to make sure that, you know, this could be something that Charlotte's family could get comfort from, and it was a big release of emotion for sure. This record was really special to us and we just wanted to do everything in the right way.

“We partnered with a charity called Joe's Buddy Line on it, who are amazing, and the main thing is that we’re just hoping for people to hear it and use its message to take care of their minds, you know?”

Read all about Venbee, Hybrid Minds, and Charlotte Haining's collaboration with Joe's Buddy Line, and how you can help out - HERE

 

You haven't half collaborated with some exceptional artists within your genre, Hybrid Minds, Rudimental, Goddard, and also Chase & Status on Rampage, It’s got to be amazing to be working with all these musical icons and heroes of yours.

“It's a dream come true. Like, I'm pinching myself every time I'm in a room with them. I never thought that I would get to this point in my career where I can get work with people who inspire me and people that I'm big fans of and it's just a wonderful crazy thing.

“Yeah, I just have to keep pinching myself. Haha, I don't feel that it's real.”

 

- RAMPAGE with Chase and Status

The latest single off of Zero Experience: Rampage with Chase and Status

 

Is there anyone you have your eyes on for a collab or just someone you’ve always dreamed of making a track with?

“I'd love to work with Flume. Really, really badly. Yeah, that'd be wicked. He just makes bloody bangers, and I think that we could make a really good song together.”

 

Sticking to these collaborations you’ve done, I can’t not ask you about ‘Messy In Heaven’. That track was absolutely everywhere, could you tell us a bit about how that track came about, and what its success has meant for you?

“Yeah, so the song I wrote with my friends Dan and Teo in a little studio in Tottenham. At the time, someone that I knew was struggling with addiction, and I had a dream where I was thinking about how far we can push that boundary of, you know, how the greatest people can struggle. 

“It was crazy, because the song came together in 20 minutes, and went on to do what it did. It’s just mental how 20 minutes can bloody change your life, eh? “

  

One of the big parts of that track's success too was TikTok. It's becoming somewhat of a democratising force for new artists in the music industry, where it doesn't matter what label it's on and how much that label has promoted it, it just matters that it's good music that resonates. Would you agree?

“Yeah, for sure. TikTok, Instagram, and social media in general have been a massive part of my career.

“I think TikTok especially plays a massive part in people promoting their songs and stuff and this is what we've got now essentially to market our music. 

“I'm also just a firm believer that if the song connects, it connects and it will go far and social media is a promotional tool to make that piece of music connect with other people.”

 

What would your advice be to a young artist who was in that position that you were in, and wants to promote their music on social media?

“Yeah, just TikTok. TikTok the s**t out of your music, and put it on Instagram and all your social media and see how it goes. 

“Also, just be yourself, like, trends fall off, and if you can hold your ground and stay yourself the whole time, then you'll win at the game, for sure.”

 

It’s something I’ve always loved about your TikToks, you’re always so unapologetically yourself, and it’s really endearing and inspiring, and it shines through.

“I've got nothing else to give, mate, you know what I mean? I am who I am, and I think I would actually exhaust myself if I started trying to be someone else that I'm not, you know?”

 

 

Thanks for taking the time to chat with me today Erin, just to finish off, we’ve had a chat about the near future, but what is coming for Venbee after that? Or are you keeping your cards close to your chest?

“So, there's a lot coming in the new year, a lot of new music, and some songs that I'm really excited about. Obviously, I'm going on tour and I've got my mixtape. But hopefully, fingers crossed, in 2024 there'll be an album.

“But I've got to bloody write it first. So, wish me luck, and if it doesn't go well, she fell off, you know? Haha

“I feel like it could be cool, and I definitely want to do an album at some point. But when I'm now thinking of like, oh, I've actually got to write that, it seems very far away. 

“I've got so many songs anyway, but I want to, like amplify what I'm doing now for sure. So yeah, exciting times!”

 

 


 

To find out more on Venbee, and get tickets to see her live, visit her page on Skiddle, by clicking or tapping - HERE

 


 

Check out our What's On Guide to discover even more rowdy raves and sweaty gigs taking place over the coming weeks and months. For festivals, lifestyle events and more, head on over to our Things To Do page or be inspired by the event selections on our Inspire Me page.

 

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Header image credit: Venbee on Facebook

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